“Every inch of Chicago’s lakefront has been shaped by human hands. Transforming a swampy scrub into terrain suitable for a major metropolis is no small project, and the contours of the shore have been aggressively adjusted to make space.
The South Shore Country Club was established in 1905 as an exclusive enclave for the wealthy. The story of its complicated relationship with the neighborhood that grew up around it is well-documented.
It had a happy moment when, in the 1970s, community advocates won the fight to preserve it as a public park and cultural center. The beautiful main building is well-known, but the rest of its grounds are less so.
At least 38 acres – about 57% of the park – is golf course, unsurprising given its country club past. But northeast of the building, accessible only via a circuitous route through driveways and parking lots, is a quiet beach. And on a spit of land extending out beyond that beach is a small slice of heaven: the South Shore Nature Sanctuary.
A path leads from the beach into a series of dunes, their sands restrained by the roots of tenacious grasses waving in the breeze. The trail loops gently through the full range of northeastern Illinois’ native ecosystems. Dunes cascade down to a small wetland, where ducks swim beneath the picturesque boardwalk.” (Rogers, 7/28/17)